Fermentation in Daily Objects

Master project at
Berlin University of Arts

Read the research journey

The starter used to make sour milk can be dehydrated on textiles.

Wanderer is a series of textiles with different patterns inspired by the visual styles of cultures where the sour milk comes from.

By applying and drying ­local­ sour milk onto the textile, these patterns become a „storage-medium“ of the starter ­culture of the sour milk.


Sour Milk

Sour milk is a naturally fermented drink with a similar flavor to yogurt.

Starter Culture & Backslopping

The cultivation method of sour milk is similar to that of sourdough bread. It is a milk product naturally fermented with a little batch of ready-made sour milk (which is called starter culture in this case) with room temperature.

Variation of Sour Milk

During my research on fermented drinks, I collected different variations of sour milk from various regions. Each of them has its unique texture and flavor, thanks to the local bacteria and yeast.

Various type of sour milk collected along the research phase.
From left to right: Matsoni, Filmjölk, Viili

I was particularly fascinated by the form of the „storage“ or „container“ of the cultures: cotton, handkerchiefs or even textiles. People apply sour milk on these mediums and dehydrate them, therefore the sour milk can be preserved longer.

Inspired by this, I applied the sour milk in certain forms on textiles, which is reusable as a starter culture for a new production cycle. The shapes are presented as graphics or ornaments that visualise the bacteria involved in the fermenting process. The squares are measured as a unit for the culture storage, which can easily be cut off and used again as a starter platform for new sour milk.

© 2023 Xijing Xu